Dedicated team takes diversity efforts on the road

May 8, 2017  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership

A dedicated team of Michigan Medicine faculty, staff, students and house officers recently took the university’s ongoing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategic plan on the road.

The group traveled to Atlanta to take part in the Student National Medical Association’s annual conference — a popular event that aims to further the association’s mission of diversifying the medical field and increasing the number of “culturally competent and socially conscious physicians.”

While in Atlanta, the Michigan team — with the support of the Office for Health Equity and Inclusion — hosted SiMfest, a daylong event that included information sessions and clinical simulations for medical or pre-med students attending the conference.

“Nearly 2,000 students attended SNMA and almost all of them came from underrepresented minorities from across the country,” said Jasmyne Jackson, a fourth-year U-M med student who is pursuing a medical degree and MBA. She attended SiMfest as a student ambassador for OHEI. “This was a great way for U-M to show that not only do we say we want our campus to become more diverse, we’re doing the work to make it happen.”

The SiMfest activities drew around 250 participants. The students met with specialists from 14 Michigan Medicine departments, giving them an inside look at the institution as a potential destination for their future medical school or residency programs.

The highlight of the event was a series of clinical simulations during which departmental experts talked the students through specialized procedures, such as a live birth (for ob/gyn) or how to treat skin lesions (for dermatology).

“There was no other school that did something like this,” said David J. Brown, associate vice president and associate dean for health equity and inclusion. “This was all Michigan and that’s what made it truly special. We demonstrated our commitment to diversity and showed each student that they have the ability to thrive here.”

Brown said the event even spurred a large percentage of participants to say they will apply to U-M.

That wasn’t a surprise to Jackson: “When you’re a part of a marginalized population, it’s incredible to feel like an institution wants you to be a part of their team. That’s what U-M was able to do.”